What if it's Your Family?

    • What if it's Your Family?

      I have been fortunate in that I have never had to even think about this before now, but recently something happened that made a big impact on me.

      When I came home from school, my younger sister, aged eleven, showed me multiple scratches on her forearm saying she had no idea how they happened. I shrugged it off at the time, but later she told me that there were seventeen in all and she had done them on purpose. She has hinted that she might draw blood next time, telling me that she spent so much time helping younger pupils with their problems she had no one to talk to about hers, not specifying what these problems were. The situation really worries me.

      I ha heard that self harm can be addicting and I don't want this to happen to my sister. How can I ensure that this never happens again? Any advice is greatly appreciated.
    • You could try something called "Exchange Listening" with her. That's where one person talks for say 2 minutes, and the other person just listens. Don't respond or give advice or judge, just listen. Then switch, and the other person talks for 2 minutes, while the first person listens without responding.

      Then you say thank you and leave and that's it.

      Really hard though, as people won't want to share confidential stuff if they feel the person they tell will go tell others. It may not work within family.

      In which case, 2nd idea, is learn to become a good listener. Same as above, you listen, but don't give advice, or try to "fix" things. The secret is, the listening itself is the fix. The person gets to talk and be heard, without fearing being judged, or lectured.

      If you're dying to give advice, first ask, "May I suggest something?" or something like that.

      For your sister, she must be really depressed. (That's a big topic I won't try to cover here.)

      Also take care of yourself.

      You could try teaching her some Mindfulness Meditation, or find some free meditation apps on her phone for her to listen to. There are numerous ones. This Mindfulness stuff is a mental exercise which can over time help. ("Headspace" is one app I use.)

      Separate her from her problem. We are not our problems. We are people who have problems, not people who are problems.

      Best wishes!